iPhone Video – Playing Around with Slow Motion and Video Editing on the iPhone

I got my new iPhone 6s Plus and the first thing I wanted to do was film some things in slow motion. The car hood worked the best. You intuitively know how quickly a car hood should fall, so you instantly recognize the video is in slow motion. The loud noise is a bonus.

This is the first video I’ve made entirely on the iPhone. I used Apple’s free iMovie app to trim it, convert it to black and white, and add a title and background music.

That’s admittedly really basic video editing, but as an Adobe Premiere snob it was an eye-opener that I could do it on the phone and do it so quickly. The whole process from shooting to editing to publishing took about 20 minutes. Now I understand that doing everything on the iPhone could speed up video creation dramatically. I’ve downloaded some other video editors to explore this some more.

PreviouslyiPhone Video – My First Time Using an iPhone Instead of a DSLR for Club Video

iPhone Video – My First Time Using an iPhone Instead of a DSLR for Club Video

I’ve been shooting video with a DSLR for about five years. A while back I realized that iPhone video was pretty darned good, so I decided to try using an iPhone as a second camera. Then I could mix the DSLR footage and iPhone footage in my video editing software and have multiple camera angles. Heck, maybe I could even leave the heavy DSRL gear behind and use a system built around smartphones.

iPhone Video

The video quality for the Labron Lazenby video was OK considering, in this case considering this was a dark club. If you play the video fullscreen it’s easy to see the noise and grain in the video. Smartphone cameras have small sensors. (The sensor is the chip that converts light into electrical signals.) Small sensors don’t perform as well in low light as the large sensors in DSLRs. Advantage – DSLR.

For the sake of comparison, here is a different show I shot in daylight with my wife’s iPhone 6. With plenty of light, there’s no grain or noise.


One big advantage of DSLRs is their interchangeable lenses. To close the gap I bought an Olloclip 4-in-1 lens that fits over the iPhone’s lens. It combines a wideangle, fisheye, and two levels of macro in one unit. I used the fisheye for this video and liked the different look. I’ve wanted a fisheye lens forever, but couldn’t justify $800 for the Nikon or $240 for the Rokinon. I was happy to pay $70 for the Olloclip. I’m finding that iPhone gear is cheap compared to the DSLR equivalents.

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New Video – Heartache by the Score

I’ve gotten back into making videos. I’m spending more time on the beginning and ending credits and having fun with it. This is a local band covering an Allen Toussaint tune. If your RSS reader doesn’t show YouTube videos, use this link.

DSLR Video – “Higher Calibre, Higher Mindedness: The Story of YoGun”

So last weekend Melissa and I went to the Knoxville 24 Hour Film Festival. The idea was for teams to shoot a four minute in 24 hours. The required elements were:

  • A bounty hunter.
  • A large body of water.
  • The phrase “So there I was minding my own business.”
  • Fire.

This video ws about YoGun, the fictional merger of yoga and guns and the inner peace one acquires from shooting. Guns and video, what’s not to like?

“Spring Rain, congratulations. You have progressed from level one to level four, revolvers and the associated calibers. You have now graduated to Zen level five, semi-automatics.”

Still Alive and I Have a Job No Less

No posts lately because I’ve been busy at a new full time gig, which I like a bunch. I needed a job and they needed me badly. ‘Nuff said.

Meanwhile, I’m putting out the videos I’ve been working on for a while. Here’s one.

Hootchie Cootchie Man

New Industry Standard for IS/VR Lens Performance

Canon offers IS and Nikon offers VR – technologies that reduce picture blur when handholding a camera. There’s always been some debate about how well those systems worked, and the companies keep coming out with new versions that area supposed to be more effective, but there’s never been a standard for measuring effectiveness until now.

Nikon has published the results of their CIPA testing. Results range from a low of 2.5 stops to a high of 4.5 stops. 4.5 stops means that the image-stabilizing technology is as effective as increasing shutter speed by 4.5 stops. So a photo taken with VR at 1/60th of a second would be equivalent in sharpness to a photo taken without VR at 1/1500th of a second.

VR (and Canon IS) mean you can get a sharp picture using shutter speeds that are slow enough to get a good exposure in a broad range of lighting conditions. They also mean you can get the shutter speed down in the range where you can use a flash at full FP sync – typically 1/200 to 1/250th of a second.

P.S. VR/IS lenses are also great for handheld video. You shoot video at a shutterspeed of 1 over twice the frame rate – so 1/60th of a second for 30 fps video -  so you can’t get sharp images by using a quick shutter speed.

DSLR Video – Punk Rockers Prove Anyone Can Do It

I’ve watched Beck’s video for Loser dozens of times. In terms of production you can point to a dozen ways it’s a crappy video. (Color grading? What’s that?!) The whole thing was edited on an Amiga Video Toaster and shot on what looks like a budget of ten bucks.(*)

This is one of those videos I look at and think, sheeeit, I could do that. All you need is thriftstore clothes, a stray dog, fake blood, lots of lighter fluid, a homeless guy, and a cheerleader in a graveyard dancing with her friend who peed in her pants. I’d skip the mimes and the kung fu dude in the trailer park. The only challenges would be scoring a casket and not getting arrested.

And I’m not even criticizing the video. I like it. It’s inspirational – it shows me that something I like that’s within my grasp. In the digital age all of this creative stuff is way easier and way cheaper.

* Correction: It was a budget of 300 bucks.

DSLR Video – Noise Reduction Software Really Works

I’ve used the noise reduction in Adobe Lightroom and liked it, but I never realized how much it could do. I captured some freeze frames from a video I’m working on. It’s concert video and the lighting was dark, so I used ISO 2000 to get the video bright enough. I thought the pictures looked OK, but decided to clean them up a little in Lightroom.

I imported the .BMP freeze frames into Google Picasa, then exported them as JPGs. Those are the before pictures. I imported those JPGs into Lightroom and ran some basic image tuning (which is why the exposures are a little different) and then reduced the noise.

Click any picture to embiggen. The bigger they get the more obvious the difference is. The difference is also more obvious in the better-exposed areas, like the guitar and the shirt.

Before Noise Reduction in Lightroom

Before Noise Reduction in Lightroom

After Noise Reduction in Lightroom

After Noise Reduction in Lightroom

Before Noise Reduction in Lightroom

Before Noise Reduction in Lightroom

After Noise Reduction in Lightroom

After Noise Reduction in Lightroom

Before Noise Reduction in Lightroom

Before Noise Reduction in Lightroom

After Noise Reduction in Lightroom

After Noise Reduction in Lightroom

I’m amazed enough that I’m shopping for noise reduction software for video editing.

P.S. I also realized I like the more-exposed (brighter) version, so I’ve increased the exposure in the video a bit.

DSLR Video – Audio is Hard

Not much blogging lately. I’ve been working on video every night for weeks. Part of that was working on the actual videos and part was learning along the way.

It turns out I didn’t know didley about editing audio. The guys in Alien Love Charm have given me some feedback, and I’m gradually getting there. Learning how use a compressor has made a huge difference, to the point I’m a little embarassed by the uncompressed sound on my older video.

(A compressor reduces the dynamic range of the audio, pushing the loud sounds down and pulling the quiet sounds up. Sound that’s spiky and thin becomes even and full. The too-loud guitar and too-quiet vocals wind up closer in levels. With the peaks pushed down you can increase the overall volume without distorting.)

The hard part on this one was the crowd noise. I usually shoot close to the stage, which reduces ambient noise. At this show the stage was so wide I had to get 20 30 feet away to capture it end to end, so I had three four rows of people talking in front of the mic. I managed to cut the crowd noise way down, but I couldn’t quiet it down as much as I wanted during the intro.

Before the next show I’m going to pick up a second Zoom digital audio recorder so I can have one on the camera and another either close to the stage or better yet plugged into the soundboard. That’ll get the crowd noise way down and give me a direct feed instead of getting the music after it’s come out of the speakers, bounced around the room, and mixed with crowd noise. To be honest, the main reason I haven’t plugged into the board before is that I’ve been too bashful to ask. No more bashful.

This is a clip I recorded a couple of years ago and never posted. I tuned up the audio, made some quickie titles, and added a reprise at the end with YouTube links. Once I get the hang of editing and build up a library of Premiere templates I can probably knock out a video like this in a couple of hours.

PreviouslyDSLR Video – Syncing a Movie with External Audio in Adobe Premiere

Great Infographic on Mobile Video

From Fstoppers
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DSLR Video – Nikon D4 and D800 Bass-poor

Guest post: Nikon D4 and D800 audio levels

Worst news first – frequency response

There is no bass. The frequency response of the D4 is identical. The lower limit of the D800’s audio band is too high for proper reproduction of most male voices, let alone environmental sounds. This might make sense for the built in microphone, as it somewhat attenuates noise from holding and operating the camera, but even then, I would expect the roll-off to start at a lower frequency.

Another reason to use an external audio recorder like a Zoom or Tascam.

DSLR Video – The Royal Hounds “I’m In Love With a Zombie”


I’ve been radically changing up my videos. I ditched the tripod in favor of a video monopod. Now I’m moving around, which makes the videos much more interesting. Now that I’ve got the audio and video under control I’ve jumped into video editing, whick makes the whole video an actual, like, video, instead of just video clips.

There are some other videos in the can that are better than this one (which has a couple of places where my framing wasn’t as good as I would have liked). I’m putting this one out first because it’s the title track to the band’s new album. The CD release parties are in Knoxville on May 23rd at Preservation Pub and May 25th at Wild Wings Cafe. Check ’em out.

The Royal Hounds “I’m In Love With a Zombie”

P.S. One of the challenges with the monopod is that you can go high and you can go low, but you have to use the pan/tilt head to compensate for the change. So if you start low, the camera is tilted up. As you life the monopod vertically you have to push the tiltbar up at just the right rate to level the camera. Otherwise you wind up pointing at the floor or ceiling until you get the camera levelled.

DSLR Video – Syncing a Movie with External Audio in Adobe Premiere

This guy shows how. Just what I needed. The only thing you need is Audacity, which is free and good. The video is for Premiere Elements, but the idea is the same for Premiere Pro and not that different for other non-linear video editors if you know how to run them.

UPDATE: Since I wrote this I’ve synced the audio inside Premiere. That turned out to be way easier than I expected.

P.S. I bought a licensed copy of DualEyes/PluralEyes recently. It’s supposed to automatically sync the audio track from a movie created with a DSLR like my Nikon D7000 with an audio track from a separate digital audio recorder (DAR) like my Zoom H4n. Point it to the movie file and the audio file (which can be much, much longer than the movie). The software will match the waveforms in the movie’s audio track with the audio file and splice out that section of the audio file. Then you can either use your video editor to replace the movie’s audio track or let DualEyes/PluralEyes do it for you.

Why would you want to do that? The audio track on the DAR is almost always better than what the camera recorded. That’s because the DAR is a dedicated audio recording device, while a DSLR is a dedicated still photo recorder that also happens to record video and – oh yeah – I guess we need to throw some audio circuitry in there somewhere because folks nowadays sure do love them some talkies. A $3,000 DSLR might have twenty bucks worth of audio circuitry. If you’re lucky.

The trial version of DualEyes/PluralEyes worked great. Thing is, once I got a licensed copy as part of a mic bundle I could never get it to work again. Not on three different computers and not after working with tech support. It would not could not in a box, it would not could not with a fox.

Oh, well. Maybe the long-promised new Windows version of PluralEyes will fix everything. In the meantime now that I know how to sync manually I don’t care. It’s really not a big deal to take a few minutes to manually sync with Audacity.

“Have Mercy, Lord”

Have Mercy, Lord:

An original song by Melissa’s grandmother Geneva Henry and great aunt Stella Williford. Recorded March 17, 2012 on her 89th birthday. Happy birthday, Geneva.

DSLR Video – Sound Monitoring for the Nikon D7000

Guest post: DIY sound monitoring for the Nikon D7000